For the better part of two years, the folks at Mozilla have been diligently chipping away at Project Things, an open implementation of the World Wide Web Consortium’s (W3C) Web of Things standard for monitoring and controlling connected devices, and today, they reached a major milestone. Project Things is graduating from its experimental phase with a new name — Mozilla WebThings — and gaining a number of logging, alarm, and networking features.
“The Mozilla IoT team’s mission is to create a Web of Things implementation which embodies those values and helps drive IoT standards for security, privacy and interoperability,” wrote software engineer Ben Francis in a blog post. “We look forward to a future in which Mozilla WebThings software is installed on commercial products that can provide consumers with a trusted agent for their ‘smart,’ connected home.”
Mozilla WebThings consists of two core components: WebThings Gateway, a privacy- and security-focused software distribution for smart home gateways, and WebThings Framework, a library of reusable software components.
The latest release of WebThings Gateway — version 0.8 — allows users to privately log data (like temperature) from their smart home devices, and to visualize that info with interactive graphs. Logging is enabled through the Settings menu, from the Experiments screen, and logs can be retained for hours, days, or even weeks.
“This feature is still experimental, but viewing these logs will help you understand the kinds of data your smart home devices are collecting and think about how much of that data you are comfortable sharing with others via third-party services,” said Francis.
WebThings Gateway 0.8 also introduces new alarms capabilities for devices like smoke, carbon monoxide, and motion detectors. Specifically, it enables users to check whether an alarm is currently active, and to configure rules to alert them if any of those alarms are triggered while they’re away.
Lastly, Mozilla revealed that it’s developing a new distribution of WebThings Gateway based on OpenWrt, a Linux operating system targeting embedded devices. It’s aimed at off-the-shelf consumer routers and can act as a Wi-Fi access point, an improvement over previous WebThings Gateway releases that could only connect to existing wireless networks as clients.
“This is the beginning of a new phase of development of our gateway software, as it evolves into a software distribution for consumer wireless routers,” Francis added.
Mozilla announced Project Things in February 2018, several years following the creation of a research group at W3C dedicated to the Web of Things. At the most basic level, it seeks to reuse programmable (e.g., HTTP and JSON), semantic, real-time (WebSockets), and social (OAuth) web standards for an app layer that simplifies internet of things deployment and management.
The timing couldn’t be better. IoT Analytics recently forecasted that the global number of connected devices will grow to 10 billion by 2020 and 22 billion by 2025, driven by consumer and enterprise adoption.
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